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Largest fresh water lake in India

Discussion in 'Travel advice' started by Shiksha, Dec 2, 2016.

  1. Shiksha

    Shiksha New Member

    My cousins and I want to go to a holiday destination where there is a lake. We have previously been on a holiday which had a lake, and we all had an amazing time.
    This time round we want to find out where the largest fresh water lake in India is so we can go there. We all have our opinions on this, so don't have the correct answer.

    We all hope someone can give us the correct answer to where the largest fresh water lake in India is?

  2. briannagodess

    briannagodess Well-Known Member

    Hello, @Shiksha, welcome to the forum!



    Lakes are abundant around the country of India. Generally speaking, lakes are bodies of water surrounded by land, that are usually deeper than ponds or streams. You can identify a lake if the light doesn't pass through until the bottom of the body of water. If it does, then it's not a lake, but rather a pond. In contrast to lagoons, which are usually connected to the sea, lakes are devoid of any connections from the sea. Some lakes have water originating from rivers though through a narrow channel. There are two types of lakes, namely: Natural Lakes and Artificial Lakes. Natural Lakes can be further classified into Fresh Water Lakes, Brackish Water Lakes and Salt Water Lakes. Fresh Water Lakes have the least amount of dissolved salts in them and with purification, water from these lakes can be potable. On the other hand, Artificial Lakes were created as a form of a dam, to control the inflow of a river or even to produce hydroelectricity for a particular town or city.

    List of Largest Natural Fresh Water Lakes in India

    Loktak287 kilometres²4.6 metresMoirang (Manipur)
    Wular260 kilometres²14 metresBandipora (Jammu & Kashmir)
    Kolleru245 kilometres²3 metresEluru (Andhra Pradesh)
    Kanwar67.5 kilometres²6 metresBegusarai (Bihar)
    Ashtamudi61.4 kilometres²6.4 metresKollam (Kerala)
    From the table above, you can see the top five largest fresh water lakes in India. Also included in the table is the average area of each mentioned lake. The last two columns depict the maximum depths of each lake and also where they are located in the country.

    1. Loktak Lake - The Loktak Lake is the largest fresh water lake in India, with an average area of 287 kilometres squared. Its maximum depth is 4.6 metres and it can be found in Moirang in the state of Manipur. Uniquely enough, the Loktak Lake is also the world's only floating lake as it has masses of vegetations floating within its waters. These masses of vegetation, also known as phumdis in local language, become so dense that it can carry the load of not only humans, but even huts. From an aerial view, these masses surround a large area of the Loktak Lake and as such, you can walk around the lake to experience almost like floating within it. The lake itself can be divided into three sections, namely: Northern, Central and Southern. The Northern section has the most number of phumdis, separating it even from the Central section because of these masses. The Central section has less of these masses as compared to the Northern section and therefore, has more open water area. Finally, the Southern section is the location of the Keibul Lamjao National Park where the endangered species of deer, the sangai, can be found. A boat ride amidst the lake can be very serene, especially when done during sunrise or sunset.

    Loktak Lake (Image from Mo's Musings)

    2. Wular Lake - In the Bandipora district of Jammu & Kashmir lies the Wular Lake, fed by the Jhelum river. The area of the lake varies depending on the season but its maximum area can be at 260 kilometres squared. At its maximum depth, it can reach about 14 metres deep, with the deepest part named as the Mota Khon. Unfortunately, this lake is ill-maintained as compared to the former lake. Encroachment and the weeds growing within the lake make it seem smaller than it really is. It's hard to view the water just because of the plants growing in under it. Although measures are being undertaken to restore the lake, it still has a long way to go before it can be restored to its former glory.
    Wular Lake (Image from Hello Travel)
    3. Kolleru Lake - Another large fresh water lake, this time in the Eluru district of Andhra Pradesh, is the Kolleru Lake. The lake serves as the buffer between the Krishna river and Godavari river. Its total area is about 245 kilometres squared with a depth of 3 metres. The lake is actually a part of the Kolleru Lake Bird Sanctuary. In the past, the lake was home to many species of resident and migratory birds, including the endangered grey pelican. But after the conversion of the lake into a drainage for fish tanks, the banks of the lake sank and brought in more saline water instead of fresh water. The stagnant water has also lead to more pollution making the water non-potable. Hopefully, the lake can be revived in the upcoming years with the help of the government and the locals.

    4. Kanwar Lake - Located in the Begusarai district of Bihar is the Kanwar Lake, with a total area of 67.5 kilometres squared. At its deepest, the lake measures at 6 metres. It is the largest fresh water oxbow lake in India, formed after the meandering of the Burigandak river. Much like the Kolleru Lake, the Kanwar Lake Bird Sanctuary was formed to protect the bird species residing and migrating into the lake. Over 100 species of resident birds live in the sanctuary like the yellow-throated sparrow, jungle babbler, magpie robin and long-billed vulture. During winter season, over 60 species of migratory birds come to visit the sanctuary as well.

    5. Ashtamudi Lake - Last on this section is the Ashtamudi Lake of Kollam in Kerala. Covering an area of 61.4 kilometres and a depth of 6.4 metres, it is the largest fresh water lake in Kerala. Being part of the backwaters, you can enjoy a houseboat tour within the large lake. Over 50 species of endemic bird species have made the Ashtamudi Lake their home. The lake itself has eight corners which is why it was named Ashtamudi, meaning eight coned. The lake also changes its appearance depending on the time of the day that you visit it as it reflects the changing hues of the sun or moon.

    List of Largest Artificial Fresh Water Lakes in India

    Shivaji Sagar892 kilometres²80 metresSatara (Maharashtra)
    Indira Sagar627 kilometres²92 metresMundi (Madhya Pradesh)
    Sardar Sarovar375 kilometres²163 metresNavagam (Gujarat)
    Nagarjuna Sagar285 kilometres²124 metresNalgonda (Telangana) and Guntur (Andhra Pradesh)
    Gobind Sagar168 kilometres²163 metresBilaspur (Himachal Pradesh)
    The table above highlights the largest artificial fresh water lakes in India. Also included are their average areas along with their deepest depths plus the regions where they can be found.

    1. Shivaji Sagar Lake - In the Satara district in the state of Maharashtra is the Shivaji Sagar Lake. The artificial lake was formed after the damming of the Koyna river. Its average area is about 892 kilometres squared while its depth is at 80 metres. The Koyna dam is the main water source of the lake. This dam also provides for the hydroelectricity in the surrounding region.

    Shivaji Sagar Lake (Image from Travel & Musings)
    2. Indira Sagar Lake - Located in Mundi in the state of Madhya Pradesh is the Indira Sagar Lake. The main dam formed after the damming of the Narmada river was constructed in the 19th century. Spanning over an area of 627 kilometres squared and with an average depth of 92 metres, it serves as both an irrigation system and hydroelectric system for the surrounding areas.

    3. Sardar Sarovar Lake - Also built to dam the Narmada river but this time in Navagam in Gujarat is the Sardar Sarovar Lake. The Sardar Sarovar dam is the main water source for the Sardar Sarovar Lake. It is considered as the largest lake formed from the damming of the Narmada river. Boating facilities are available in the lake which can be a fun activity for children and families. A small garden is also located close the lake premises wherein tourists can enjoy having a picnic in.

    Sardar Sarovar Lake
    4. Nagarjuna Sagar Lake - Located in both states of Telangana and Andhra Pradesh is the Nagarjuna Sagar Lake. It is about 285 kilometres squared in area and about 124 metres in depth. The lake was formed from the damming of the Krishna river. You can also enjoy a boat ride here which is about 90 minutes on average duration. The surrounding greenery adds to the serenity of the man-made lake, that it's hard to imagine that it is actually an artificial reservoir.

    5. Gobind Sagar Lake - Last on the list is the Gobind Sagar Lake in Bilaspur in Himachal Pradesh. It is about 168 kilometres squared in area and 163 metres in depth. It was created after the damming of the Sutlej river into the Bhakra dam. From August to January, water sports are available in the reservoir and lake. You can indulge in activities like river rafting, canoeing and even kayaking in the lake. Govind Sagar Lake is slowly gaining popularity as a tourist destination in the region.


    From the above lists, you can now distinguish the largest freshwater lakes in India. For the natural fresh water lakes, the largest one is the Loktak Lake in the state of Manipur. Second to it is the Wular Lake in the state of Jammu & Kashmir. Third is the Kolleru Lake in Andhra Pradesh, fourth is the Kanwar Lake in Bihar and last is the Ashtamudi Lake in Kerala. For the artificial fresh water lakes, the largest one is the Shivaji Sagar Lake in Maharashtra. Second to it is the Indira Sagar Lake in Madhya Pradesh. Third is the Sardar Sarovar Lake in Gujarat, fourth is the Nagarjuna Sagar Lake in both Telangana and Andhra Pradesh and last is the Gobind Sagar Lake in Himachal Pradesh.

    I hope this helps you!:)